Saturday, July 30, 2016

Inksketches, Week of July 29th 2016

Whoa.  A heat wave this week made it so much longer than necessary.  As is my job, I took to art to combat the evils of the dark Daystar.  The bastard might've won the day, but I at least got some ink sketches done.

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.  :D


Starting off with a Bear.  I like how this turned out, especially the grass.  The grass feels authentic in it.  Also, that is a bear look of "wha?"
Something weird.  Possibly inspired by Changeling the Lost.  As that is the current RPG I'm running, I expect it to influence things.  The elven standing in a pile of thorns is symbolic of something.
Her expression alone seemed worth the effort here.  The flaming rose is sort of recurring motif from the previous sketch.  Face practice meeting head musing.
 A bit of a landscape.  This is what Eastern Oregon feels like, from a landscape perspective.  Hills, desert, wildflowers and brush.  Dryland labyrinth at the mercy of a cruel sun god.
Character design.  I have the idea for a thing, as I tend to do, so I did some character design for it.  This is Gaby Ivanka, and I think she's the fan of a comic book character that is a pastiche of the mighty Thor and Artemis.  The short hair feels right, but I'm not sure what colors to put on her yet.  I think she'll have lots of greens.
More character design.  This one was inspired by a guy who came into my work.  A hundred degrees out and he wore a black leather jacket over a tank top.  He looked like an extra from a Mad Max film.  I liked the look and decided it would work ok for another character, Booth.  I have no idea what the skullpig thing on his shirt is about.
Wildflowers to end the week.  Dark surprises in the image if you are looking for it.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

City of Curses: Bluegrass and Duels

Something brief for Wednesday.  Two little things for #Crux as a setting.  Duels, and a mixed-culture and its music, Bluegrass.


Bluegrass.

Blending between different cultures has shown more visible than ever before.  In Crux, they represent a growing group of different mixed cultures.  The recent population boom has led to even more mixing.  Even if some prominent icons in the City of Curses dislike it.

The Sabizi and Tomasi families are known as the Herbatus, a Tomasi term referring to grass.  Herbatus families have their own culture in parts of Crux.  They have emerged after decades of blending between the two tribes.  Tomasi look down at most Herbatus.  Tomasi think Herbatus lack the capacity for sorcery they obsess over.  Herbatus almost always seem to possess some bardic capacity, despite Tomasi disregard of that.

The Herbatus struggle against Tomasi discrimination.  Sabizi caravans lack the political means to aid their offshoots with the Tomasi.  Of note is how the Herbatus have combined the music and dance of their heritage.  Unlike the stiff music of the Tomasi, they have a rich diversity of it.  Often this music referred to as bluegrass, after the blue colors in the hair of the Herbatus.

Herbatus Names: Herbatus tend to have two names, a first name and a second name.  Most Tomasi parents do not give their Herbatus children a Cognomen.  Unlike their Sabizi ancestors, Herbatus do not use gendered surnames.  But their surnames often end up being new inventions.  They derive first names from either Tomasi or Sabizi origins.

Dueling

The practice of dueling never left Ith.  Inherited from Othebea and Ainesia, duels became a way for persons of honor and standing to defend claims against them. For Ith, this practice created a subculture of violence amongst its most prominent magi.

For those of honor to challenge another to a duel is the last step in a disagreement. Doing so is saying: "you've dishonored me sir, and you will step away from this insult or face the consequences."  Sometimes there are set conditions for the duel.  There is a set code of conduct for such affairs.  The Code Duello.

It is against Ithic law, yet remains practiced regardless.

At a duel, every chance is given for the accuser or the accused to step away. Rounds are called. Seconds repeatedly act as go-betweens. But folk of all kinds always manage to find a way to die because of it.

It isn't just a means for gentlefolk for retribution.  A duel can skip across class lines, even between the unsorcerous and sorcerous.  It can provide a means of prestige for those of less means or esteem against those who otherwise would be above them.

Of course, those without magic sometimes have trouble if a duel's weapons are spells.  So, often such unsorcerous make certain to ask for pistols.  This gives themselves an equal means with magi foes.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Gaming Materials: Urban Shadows


To call Gaming Materials a review is probably a disservice.  When I write these, I channel my thoughts and inspirations of something I've read.  I don't go over the gritty details on rules or whatever.  There are better people for that.  

Gaming Materials ends up being a ramble, a review and me going over what I think is worth stealing- er, borrowing from games I've encountered.  I use things I've taken for new campaigns and other things.  Sometimes those things have knives.

Just kidding.  Not knives.  Cleavers.

Powered By The Cleaver Apocalypse.


Having acquired Urban Shadows, I consumed it readily.  John Wick had referred to it as "As Dungeon World is to D&D, so is Urban Shadows is to the WoD."  WoD being the World of Darkness.  The new World of Darkness (nWoD or Chronicles of Darkness or whatever fancy name they've obtained) is one of the settings I've loved over the years.

I've read Dungeon World a bit.  Which I haven't bothered to do a Gaming Materials on.  Apocalypse World itself appeals to my style of GMing.

GMing in any game Powered by the Apocalypse is defined by the amount of improvisation it impresses upon the GM.  Most of the rules lean into that particular style, of the improvisational, narrative-heavy GM.  As such, it tends to have much fewer rules.

My style of Game Mastery shares traits with what pbta games do.  I dislike complex rules during a roleplaying game, often handwave things and more often than not try to defer to the players rather than the other way around.  Fate Core appeals to me because of that.  The old narrative first ideas of the World of Darkness appealed to me first, with other things getting added to the pile that helped make that idea work.

I like being able to ignore rules when they get in the way of fun or story.

SHADOWS!


Urban Shadows is an urban fantasy game.  Style-wise, it does the same sort of politicking one expects from a Chronicle of Darkness game.  Factions play a big part of it.  The setup of Urban Shadows uses debts to help establish the political network for the story.

Of all its subsystems, the first great one is the corruption mechanic.  It's something so much clearer and simpler than similar mechanics WoD has had.  The idea of trying to fight off the monster underneath is captured by it.  You can't avoid becoming corrupted.  It always makes you more powerful.  But go too far, and you lose your humanity altogether.

I don't know if I can truly replicate that, but the Corruption mechanic inspired the Feral Stress track I put into Dog Days.  It reflects something of a personal rule of mine.  I detest rules that are unnecessarily incumbent against players.  GMs (or MCs, as is the case for pbta) should have to handle excessive rules at times, I get that.  But I don't like forcing players to go through loops to do a thing.

Corruption puts control of it in the player's hands.  It operates simply.  It doesn't function based on GM fiat.  All the moves that could trigger Corruption are choices the players make.

Fast Play


The other mechanic, which is more of something endemic to all Apocalypse World games, is the fast play.  It's a checklist that ends with a player having a character to play, fast.  So fast I plot to rob it for other things.  It solves the blank page problem, wherein players look at a blank page with no ideas of what to do.  Giving them options helps.  Apocalypse World games do that.  Brilliantly.

I have a new campaign coming up.  Hopefully, it goes ahead.  Urban Shadows almost became the choice.  But I haven't run it before.  I'd like to play with it in general before trying to turn it into a long-running thing.

The ideas inspired by it go into a little file I've been working on.  It'll be nice to try them out.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Inksketches, Week of July 22nd

Another week, another pile of inksketches!

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.  :D

  1.  Starting off, a tree on a stone bridge.  One of those dreamy landscape pictures.  As is my fave motif, some random ruins too.  This is one of those images you know comes with it being summer, y'know?
  2.  A symbol for the Horned God or Moloch or whatever.  Always I like to do a bit of iconography, especially for elements from my own imagined universes.  One day, I'll really get to explain what all this means.  
  3. Whilst Pokemanning, I sat at a restaurant for dinner.  A few friends and I are preparing to start a Changeling the Lost Chronicle.  The elements of that are still in the air.  But drawing elves on very alien looking quadrepeds?  Yep, I'm in the right mind space for it.
  4. Dog with a pipe.  If I have to explain this, I feel sorry for you.
  5. Pretty holographic projecting flowers in the #Cyberwood.  As that project remains [REDACTED], I still draw images from it from time to time.  In this case, this one proved popular on the Instagram.  Yep.  I'm down with the youths.  Yo.
  6. This is a bit of building design while watching Steven Universe.  A tree or trees taking over a building feels Cyberwoodish, but this isn't really the same thing, I think.  I think this is just me trying to inject a bit of storytelling into a mundane image.  
  7. And we end with today's, a bit of Thistle.  Some life drawing, with a bit of a surprise in it for those able to see it.  Thistle or whatever this is, I found along the road while Pokemanning the Go.  Finding little pieces of the wild always is part of why I like walking to work.   
Wild, mind, is not the same as nature.  Humanity has plenty of nature in a city.  A city, is a piece of nature, as humans and their closest associates tend to be part of that.  No, wildness is nature that doesn't care what humanity or civilization or cities are.  It grows and disregards us as just temporary infections, something it will one day outpace.

Creative Commons License
Artwork on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  That means you can use these images however the heck you want, as long as you use the same license and attribute back to me.

Plus comment and give me a link to whatever hell you used it.  I'd like to see and share it too.  If you want something more specific from me, well, commissions are always there.



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

City of Curses: Little Ainesia 5 (Maralda's Notes)

Here is part 5 of the story Maralda is getting from Unatoly.  How a young woman fled her homeland for #Crux.  The price of revolution for a noble girl who didn't know any better.  A tale of a refugee from a #magicalwestern #fantasy setting.

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"And then I got on the next ship south.   I ran as hard as I could.  I found my way here to the City of Curses."  Unatoly shrugged.  "For a young woman with no skills, Crux is such a frightening place.  But I never would've gone back.  I found an apprenticeship, learned a trade, and found a home here."

Ueda studied a series of leather boots along one wall.  I looked over at her.  The Tengu hadn't stopped listening, but she hadn't asked a question for a bit.  I guess I had to keep the conversation going.

"What happened to your brother?  You didn't say."  I asked.

"I never could find out."  Unatoly pulled down a placard full of letters and papers.

I looked at them.  Apologies.  Refusals.  Denials.  Each letter held a variation of claiming to have no idea where Unatoly's brother was.

"How many of these did you send?"

"I've lost count now."  Unatoly shrugged.  "I hire people from time to time to go back home.  They look.  Those that Revolutionary Guards don't arrest, or those that don't swindle me, never have given me any solid clues on what happened to Zhamon.  I can never go back there.  I can never know what happened to him.  To be honest, all I remember now is his name.  Zhamon."

"You don't remember anything about him?"  I asked.

"There are memories, or the echoes of them.  But its been long enough that I can remember his hair color.  I remember having a brother.  He wasn't very old when we had to flee.  He'd been grown now.  But I doubt he remembers anything about me."

"I... I don't know what to say.  It all sounds so sad."

Unatoly gave me a smile.  "Maralda, it all isn't that bad.  Sometimes things happen.  I've managed to learn things here in Crux I never would've back home.  An education with my hands.  Hands.  Something that my family would never let me learn back home.  Sometimes I understand why the revolution happened back home.  But even then, I still cannot believe how violent people chose to be."

"But the fervor is magic.  It isn't just people's choice if it infects them."  I pointed out.

The Revolution cult relied on the practice ever since it's emergence twenty years before.  The Fervor infected the mind.  Like a catchy song, it seemed to possess common people with anger.  It could create a riot rather fast.  Ith had banned the use of the spell.  But that couldn't keep it from popping up from time to time.

"Maybe.  But the Straw Pastor who set a mob on my Grandmother was no foreigner.  The anger was there before.  My family just ignored it.  We should've learned from it."

"What about the rest of your family?  You didn't say if your father survived or-"

"I don't know."  Unatoly shrugged.  "There is only so much I can do from here.  The last time I spoke with a diviner, they confirmed that my father was dead.  My mother too.  I have living relatives, but they are too far away and have too much of their own troubles to come and find me."

I bought a pair of boots.  Ueda herself considered a purchase, instead having Unatoly take her measurements for something.  The Tengu woman still hadn't asked her question yet.  I could tell she had waited.  Perhaps for the right moment to ask?

After a bit of small chat, we started for the door.  As I stepped out, a bank of smog from the Irons District had clouded the street around the shop.  Behind me, Ueda paused.  The Tengu brewer turned to Unatoly.

In a calm voice, she asked her question.

"What will happen next?"

Unatoly didn't look up from her counter.

"War."  Anger flowed in that word.  Frustration and despair coated it.  "The Empress of Ainesia used a Revolution to conquer a continent.  Empress Krasynsang won't be pleased unless she can keep that fire going.  War is coming because, otherwise, the Revolution will take her and burn her alive."

We left.  I remembered Unatoly's prediction.  We'd have to see how her old homeland changed.  Crux would be here, like it always had, at the center of the world.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

City of Curses: Little Ainesia 4

Here is part 4 of the story Maralda is getting from Unatoly.  How a young woman fled her homeland for #Crux.  The price of revolution for a noble girl who didn't know any better.  A tale of a refugee from a #magicalwestern #fantasy setting.

Start | Previous | Next

Unatoly groaned.

Her body felt like it had been buried under a pile of rocks.  She couldn't move her arms.  They were bound together.

Too tight.  It hurt.

She couldn't see.  Wherever she'd ended up had no light.  Pitch dark, and rough.  Unatoly could feel the hard planks underneath her.

Unatoly toyed with the ropes binding her.  They had a bit of flex in them, but not enough for her to pull her hands out.  Twisting, Unatoly found her left hand almost could come out.  She yelped in pain before she could.

To get her left hand out, she'd have to dislocate it, maybe even break it, to get out.  She hesitated to do that.  Una didn't want to escape yet.  She knew the Straw Pastor had been responsible for her capture.

"I need to know why.  Why would you kill my grandmother and leave me alive?"  Una asked herself.  As terrifying as this was, she knew knowledge was her best tool.  Una still refused to believe everyone in Selas had joined the Straw Pastor.

The Revolution couldn't turn everyone against her family.  She refused to believe that.  But she needed to survive to find those answers.  She untwisted her left hand.

Una waited for someone, anyone to come and see her.

It didn't take long.

The door opened.  Bright sunlight blinded her.  She couldn't see who it was.  Just the shadow.  An outline.  A silhouette of a man.

"My, my."  The voice sounded gilded.  Charming even.  The Straw Pastor.  "Is our new Comtesse awake?"

"What do you want?"  Una asked.

"Don't you want to me to cut your bonds?"

"You killed my grandmother, yet you haven't done anything to me yet.  I'm guessing you want me alive."

"And you think you are clever enough to get out of this, then?  That your bourgeoisie charms and voice will force your loyal serfs to help you?  That I've driven them mad or that maybe a few of them are still loyal to your greedy aristocratic class?"  The Straw Pastor snorted.

Her eyes adjusted, seeing the gleam in his blond hair and beard.  He smirked.  He wore red vestments, their leather looking clean and shining.  A tiny pitchfork carved from wood hung from his neck.  The symbol of the Revolution.  The Pitchfork.  A commoner's tool turned into a weapon.

The Straw Pastor loomed over her.

"Do you not have something to say for yourself, little Comtesse?"  He asked her.

Una struggled to sit up.

"I hold your life here."  The Straw Pastor continued.  "I am kind.  Merciful.  This is a moment for you to prove your worth."

"I am never joining your bloody revolution."  Una spat back.  "This county and land did fine long before you people and your pitchforks came."

"Your mother said the same thing."  The Straw Pastor chuckled.  "But you are young.  Beautiful.  I'd hope you'd be smart enough to start by begging."

He took a step toward her.  Unatoly stumbled back away from him.  He kept moving forward.  His teeth frightened her.  She cowered, trying to keep away from him.

"Keep away from me!"  She screeched.

The Straw Pastor threw something.  His face turned a bright red as a chair shattered against a mirror above her.  Wood smashed, the mirror shattered around her.  Shards of mirror reflect the raging expression of the Straw Pastor.

"You don't give the orders here!"  The Straw Pastor screamed.  "No!  The PEOPLE have risen!  And you will learn to obey!"

Una looked back down to her hands, bound before her.  She twisted and worked them.  The Straw Pastor kept moving closer.  Bones cracked in her left hand.  Una closed her eyes.

"I have to do this."  Determination crept over her.  Una yelped in pain.  Her hand twisted.  Then her left hand broke.  It turned into a flopping chunk of meat.  She twisted it past its normal limits.

It hurt horribly.  So horrible Una's eyes blurred with tears.

But as her left hand broke, her right hand had been freed.

The Straw Pastor bent down, dragging her out of the corner she'd been cowering in.  He pulled her by her legs to the middle of the room.  She flailed, trying to find something, anything, to pull to resist against him.

"I will teach you the price of the bourgeoisie!"  He cackled, his eyes glowing bright red.  Revolutionary magick poured into him.

That was when Una plunged the mirror shard into the demagogue's neck.  He tumbled to the ground like a gourd slashed in half by a knife.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Inksketches, Week of July 15th

Another week, another pile of inksketches!  No commentary on them this time, I'm trying to get this post up.

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images everyday.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.  :D












Wednesday, July 13, 2016

City of Curses: Little Ainesia 3

Here is part 3 of the story Maralda is getting from Unatoly.  How a young woman fled her homeland for #Crux.  The price of revolution for a noble girl who didn't know any better.  

StartPrevious | Next

Una and Zhamon rode four hours in the night.  The horse stayed to the road.  Una knew how to get to Selas.  Grandmother and her father had never understood her constant wish to ride on horseback.  On her own.  Not a in carriage.

Una would always ride on her own to the little port.  It had been a way for Una to be free.  To do something outside the manor.  To get to know the people she'd govern one day.

But now she rode with her little brother to escape this place.  His long, unbraided young hair was mussed.  A sound sleeper, he hadn't woke since they'd left the Draketor estate.  Like her hair, it had Salish white mixed with Tomish black.  Una didn't know what she was going to tell him when he woke.

She hoped she wouldn't default to a lie.  But Una wanted to hear that lie herself.  Grandmother dead?  The revolution here?  In quiet Dragonrun?  The tiny little backwater coastal county of Volkstorm?

The air changed on the ride to Selas.  The salty tinge of seawater suddenly came as they rounded a turnpike.  The night had been clear, which Una didn't realize had been a blessing.  Later in life she would look back at the calm and gentle night as something that couldn't gone worse.

Una rode down the road into the small fishing village known as Selas.

There were only a few lanterns hanging outside the town gate when she rode in.  Sunlight started to crest up in the east.  Everything felt grey to Una in the morning light.  People were stirring with the sunrise.

She rode into the middle of town.  Her brother snored a bit.  She bit her lower lip.  Her hair and clothes she'd hurried to put on, didn't give her any noble air.  Riding in the night, without her usual full night sleep left her eyes looking red.

Una felt a warmth of embarrassment for her looks.  She could feel her grandmother's words in her mind about appearances.  Una tried to avoid the eyes of the villagers.

She stopped in front of a familial sight.  Next to the docks, an old wooden tavern clung to its last planks.  The Smiling Dog.  A place she and her family would visit whenever they came to Selas.  Father and mother would drop a lot of coin.  Local folk would whisper about themselves as they talked.

Then they would leave.  Una tried to dismount.  She gritted her teeth.  There wasn't a way to do it without waking up Zhamon.  The little boy remained a lump on her lap.

"That you Lady Dragunrun?"  A voice asked.  Nervous, Una tried to identify it's source.

It belonged to the Innkeep.  A woman whose width matched her height.  But she always had such a bright smile on her face.  Una couldn't recall her name, but she knew her face.  Dark black hair of a Tomasi.  An eternal smile.  Dark red eyes.

"I..."  Una didn't know how to respond.  She didn't want to believe that Father had been right.  But what if he had?  Should she watch her words?  But she knew these people.

Una recognized the fishergirls who sold and negotiated catches.  The Innkeep and her family.  She remembered seeing their little daughter the last time she had been here.   Kind people who always had spoken to her in polite tones.

She could trust them.  They wouldn't betray her.

"You need some help with that?"  The Innkeep gingerly reached for Zhamon.  She took the boy with a handled grace Una guessed came from experience.  Una didn't stop her.

The woman had always given Zhamon a fried treat when their parents had visited the Smiling Dog.  Una knew she could help them.  Maybe if they acted fast, they could stop the Straw Pastor from attacking Draketor.

"Th-thank you."  Una's mouth felt sore and cold.  How cold had the ride been?  Had she ignored that?  How deep had her thoughts been?

"Of course, milady."  The Innkeep bowed, her green and white dress scrapping on the stones on the ground.  "You need a bite to eat I expect?"

"I-I n-need..."  The words were hard to get out.  Una bit her tongue trying to enunciate.

"Some warmthing, I think.  That ride must've awful cold, milady.  Your father sent you?"

Una nodded.  It seemed easy than trying to talk at the moment.

"Come in, then.  Awful about your grandmother.  Your father wanted you to be rested for the rest of your trip.  You understand?"

Una paused.  Something wash over her mind.  The ride had been tiring, especially with trying to keep Zhamon in her lap.  Emotions bubbled to the forefront of her mind.  Yes, there were still some loyal folk left in Dragunrun.  A bed, some sleep, warm food... that could really help.

The young noblewoman, now free of her younger brother, dismounted.  The Innkeep led her inside the Smiling Dog.  The painted image of a dog in mid-pant hung over the door.

Una yawned and stretched as she walked in.

"No, he's just a boy."  Una heard the Innkeep say.

"I'm sorry?"

Una's eyes took a moment to adjust.  People filled the Smiling Dog.  Fifty men and women, all armed with pitchforks.  Icy stares met her.  Sleep drained away from Una.

"You going to protect her too?"  One of the pitchforking people asked.

"I'm your Comtesse.  Show me your respect."  Una's voice took on a sharp tone.  "I've had a long night, and I've got a lot more to do-"

"Darling, Sleep.  The adults have things to discuss."  A blond man in red leathers said.

Una didn't have time to react to the voice.  She just collapsed.  The spell he'd cast knocked her into darkness.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dog Days Update 1




Ok, so I started to research Dog stuff.  Dog Days sort of came about as a dare from a friend, and I've always thought FAE looked like the basic means for any narrative with competent characters in it.  Here's a copy of the updated text.  Maybe it's better.  Maybe it's not.

Le shrug.  This remains untested, and still is a living document- it'll change more.  But I like how it's ending up.  It's still less than 2000 words long, which feels fine to me.

The Dog Days.  
A Fate Accelerated Canine Disaster Survival RPG romp.

Theme Song, yep, I went there: The Dog Days Are Over (Florence + the Machine)

Fireworks launch on the 4th of July.  When the explosions end, though, human civilization is no more.  You wake up after the electricity is gone.  You wake up after most of the people have fled in the night.  Your eyes blink open, your ears sting.

The earth is exploding around you.  But you aren't human.  You are a dog.  A dog that had hidden from the fireworks only to find the 4th of July also was the end of their home.

Dog Days is a little RPG about a pack of domestic dogs during the worst summer for humanity.  Do they aid their former masters, or do they go wild in the face of survival?

Rules.

Dog Days uses FAE (Fate Accelerated), cuz I'm lazy at the moment.  What follows are most of the alterations.  This is mostly an un-playtested musing.  I don't know if I ever plan on running it, but here are the bare bones of the rules I'd use for it.

Dogs have the following approaches available to them instead of the normal six: Hungry, Curiosity, Playing, or Barking.

Use this array instead of the normal one for stating them out.  Choose one at Good (+3), one at Fair (+2), one at Average (+1) and one at Mediocre (+0).

Names.

Your canine needs a name.  Select one from the following list.  These are the most popular names in the US (according to google anyway).

20 Popular Male Dog Names

Max, Charlie, Buddy, Cooper, Jack, Rocky, Toby, Duke, Bear, Tucker, Oliver, Jake, Bentley, Teddy, Riley, Milo, Bailey, Buster, Dexter, Leo

20 Popular Female Dog Names

Bella, Lucy, Daisy, Molly, Maggie, Sophie, Sadie, Chloe, Bailey, Lola, Luna, Lily, Roxy, Zoey, Stella, Penny, Coco, Gracie, Zoe, Abbie

Aspects

Dog Days only has three aspects for its dogs: Breed, Problem and Taste. There's also the matter of the Alpha, which is an aspect with its own rules.

Breeds.

These aren't precise breeds, but sets of aspects to choose one from.  This is a set list.  Select a breed before you select your Problem aspect.
Absent-Minded Hunting Dog;
Mongrel;
Energetic Tiny Dog;
Paranoid Attack Dog;
Smartass Terrier;
Lazy Retriever;

Problems.

Each dog has a problem aspect, something taken from the following list as well.
Rescued From a Shelter;
Homesick For Humans;
Generous to a Fault;
Very Fugly Dog;
Gullible;
More Bark Than Bite;
Rude and Crude;
Soul of a Killer;

Taste.

Lastly, each dog has a Taste aspect.  This is something the Dog always has a temptation for, something that even calms them in the face of disaster.  Whenever a human gives a dog something that fits with their Taste aspect, it removes 1 feral stress from their Feral Stress track.

Unlike Breed or Problem aspects, it’s encouraged for players to make up their own taste aspect for their dog.  If inspiration is needed for potential taste aspects, here’s one or two.

Taste For Fast Food;
A Scratch In the Right Spot;

Alpha.

Alpha is a character aspect that is earned.  The Playing approach only is used for it.  Determining Alpha requires a dog to play with all the other dogs in the group, to establish their role.  If a human is around, most companion dogs defer to a human as alpha.  But to make Alpha in a group of dogs, you have to win a contest.

Any member of a pack can start a new contest for the role of Alpha.

Alpha means you get first say on resources.  It doesn't confer the alpha to be the de facto boss.  The alpha instead serves as the one who gets food first.  Most often, this also means they get to mate first, etc.  Hopefully you don't need to focus on that part.

Conditions.

Dogs have Conditions, instead of a physical or mental stress track.  This game makes combat more dangerous on purpose.  


Mild Conditions: Bruised [], Hungry* [], Angry []
Moderate Conditions: Hurt [], Ravenous* []
Severe Conditions: Broken [], Wounded []

*These conditions you can be rid of by eating something, anything edible you've found.

Hunger is a constant concern with canines.  Almost always, you mark off your Hungry condition after any scene where you didn't eat anything.

Dog Stunts.

Here’s a selection of stunts all dogs can take.  Each dog starts with up to three stunts.  Use the usual FAE method, although these are meant to be idea fodder if you need them.

Human Handler.  You know how to approach humans, or at least to get them to trust you quicker than other dogs.  If given a moment or two and the chance to lick a human, you can spend a fate point to put the Friendly aspect on them.
Alpha Dog.  Other dogs tend to defer to you, and it’s harder for them to oust you from leadership.  You always are in charge.   Your first victory on a playing contest to be alpha is always guaranteed.

Feral.


Feral is a separate stress track.  These are separate instances that you can choose to take a point of Feral Stress, with an immediate benefit.
1. Attack a human.  You take a point of Feral stress and immediately lose the Scared condition if you have it, and gain 1 Fate point.
2. Go a whole day with the Hungry condition.  You take two points of Feral stress.
3. Eat a dead human.  You take two points of Feral stress and immediately lose the Hungry or Ravenous conditions if you have them and gain 1 Fate point.
4. Hunt humans for food.  You take three points of Feral stress and gain 1 Fate point.

You have four feral stress boxes, if they all fill-up, you immediately gain three points you can spend on your approaches.  As long as your Feral Stress track is full, you have the Feral aspect.

Feral Stunts.  

When your Feral stress track is full, you gain the following two stunts.

Scent.  Whenever you Hungrily track something's scent, you gain a +2 to the roll to find that prey.
Vicious.  Whenever you Barkingly try to dodge something attacking you, you gain a +2 to the roll to avoid being hit.

Narrative.

After the fireworks on the 4th of July, you've managed to stay hidden from the noise.  You wake to find your home is gone, destroyed by something you don't understand.  The door is open, you aren't barred.  Your people aren't around.

Players at the start of the game begin with a Brainstorm session (see Atomic Robo).  But this uses whatever Approach their dog is best at instead of a skill.  The Brainstorm is to try to explain what happened, what the nature of the disaster was and what happened to their humans in particular.  Players and the GM should feel free to use this to help sketch out the disaster they're dealing with.

The core question of these rules is to ask whether the players go feral or aid humans they encounter.  Attacking "bad" humans can lead a dog down the feral path, but so can going without food for awhile.

The dogs are trying to figure out what happened to their humans.  This is should be the core question each dog is trying to answer.  It should also give them all a reason to work together.

Questions.

Each dog has a set of Questions they need to answer over the course of the arc of Dog Days.  This is a checklist of questions they need to mark off as they answer them.  Sometimes they raise more questions.  Once all of a Dog’s questions have been answered, their story is all wrapped up.

Map.

All of the dogs in the game come from the same neighborhood.  Like in Apocalypse World, generating a map will be helpful to guide things along.  The focus of the game will be trying to answer the questions the dogs have: where are their people, what has happened, and what will they do to survive?

Feedback.

This was just a musing, not a fully fleshed out thing.  I could do more.  But if this is enough for you to run this and you do, please let me know how it worked out for you.  I might revisit it, or I might just leave it up here like the other many things I muse about.

Monday, July 11, 2016

City of Curses: Little Ainesia 2 (Maralda's Notes)

Here is part 2 of the story Maralda is getting from Unatoly.  How a young woman fled her homeland for #Crux.  The price of revolution for a noble girl who didn't know any better.  

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"Una?  Wake up."

Her father, not a maid or some other servant, shook Una.  His black beard looked unkempt.  His clothes were ragged, dirty.  His bloodshot eyes oozed with concern.  He stank of sweat.  Bruises covered his face.

Una rubbed her eyes.

"Papa?"  She asked.  "Where is Taria?"

"Away.  I sent them all away.  Una, get dressed."

"Father, it's late.  What time is it?"

"After midnight."  He said.  "This is the best time, Una.  You and Zhamon need to leave.  If they see you leave Draketor in the morning light, they'll just take you."

"Take?"  Una tried to straighten her back.  "Father I don't understand what you're saying.  What is going on?  Did Grandmother return safely?"

"The Comtesse is dead."  His deaden words didn't quite shock Una.  She tried to wrap her head around it.

Her grandmother.  The Comtesse of Dragunrun.  Una knew she cared for all their local common folk.  From the fishmongers to the gardeners that kept Draketor verdant, her grandmother had cared what happened to them all.  Una had learned everything about nobility from her grandmother.  Her grandmother had groomed the salish noble-blooded teenager to take the title of Comtesse.  When she was ready to relinquish the title, of course.

The folk of Dragunrun loved their Comtesse.  They wouldn't kill her.  Una couldn't believe they'd hurt a hair on her grandmother's head.

Dead?  Shouldn't they be preparing for the funeral?

"Dead?"  She echoed.

"Una."  Her father pulled her to her feet.  "Your grandmother is dead because she was the Comtesse.  Get dressed.  You need to hurry."

Una began to gather clothes to wear.

"How?  Why do I have to leave?  Aren't I Comtesse now?"

"Una, the mob in Dragunrun proper ripped her to shreds.  They killed her.  The Straw Pastor sent the crowd into a fervor.  They ripped her apart, then they took your mother."  He let out a sigh.  "I nearly died traveling back here.  It's still too dark for them to mount a proper attack."

"Why would they do that?  Don't they know the Straw Pastor is just manipulating them?  That grandmother took care of them?"

"Anger doesn't care for logic."  He told her.

Father left the room, hurrying to tend to her younger brother.  Una closed her eyes.

"I'm the Comtesse now."  She told herself.  That didn't untangle the knot in her stomach.  Una got dressed and went downstairs.

She tried to gather some sort of meal from the kitchen.  The empty halls of Draketor shook her.  Oft busy rooms were coated in black shadows.  Her steps echoed.  Una felt uneasy.  This felt less like her home, more like a tomb.

"I'm the Comtesse now,"  Una repeated.

Una went into the kitchens.  She fumbled for a bit.  But she managed to fill a basket of bread and dried meat.  She didn't know how much food she'd need.  But she'd ordered baskets like this for picnics before.

"Una?"  Her father's voice called.  It echoed from the shadows deeper inside the manor.

Una grabbed her basket.  She hurried to find her father, her skirts swirling as she went.  She bit her lower lip.  After a bit of hesitation, she left the kitchen.

Memories of spending time with her maids and the cooks boiled to the top of her mind.  Una couldn't believe they had betrayed her family.

But her father's face had been enough.  She'd never seen him so scared before.

She found him in the foyer.  Una's younger brother hung asleep in his arms.  The boy wasn't older than six.  Father hadn't woken him up.

"Father-"

"There's a horse ready outside."  He told her.  "Ride to Selas.  Take this, it should be enough to help you pay your way to Ith."

He handed her small bundle.  Una looked inside the bag.  Family jewelry.  Her grandmother's necklace.  Her mother's silver earrings.  Una pushed down a shiver.

This wasn't a dream.

"Father-"

"I love you, Una."  He gave her a kiss.  "I can't go with you.  If I can, I can convince the mob you died here with me.  Maybe they will just burn the manor down...  You're Comtesse now.  Understand?  Avenge your family name.  Be patient.  Remember us.  Remember Dragunrun."

Unatoly got on the white and black horse.  Her slumbering brother in her lap.  Strapped behind her a bundle of food she wasn't sure would be enough for the full ride to the port of Selas.  She looked back at her father, his Tomish features standing out in the night.  She had some of his black hair, as well as the stark white hair of her mother and grandmother.

The Straw Pastor and his mob would descend onto the manor.  He'd driven her from her home.  Una didn't believe that he could twist everyone against her.  She'd been to Selas dozens of times in her eighteen years.

Una knew she could find someone, anyone who could help.  Then she could come back and save her father.  Una knew they would flock to help their Comtesse.  They'd always had helped her or her grandmother in the past.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Inksketches, Week of July 8th

Every day I try to do an inked sketch.  Then with my iPhone, I scan it and alter it so the pencils aren't visible.  Here are this week's sketches.  I just switched back to smaller sketchpad this week.  The bigger pad wasn't fitting into my day pack, so small pad for now.  

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images everyday.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.  :D
  1. Something symbolic for Friday.   Maybe it's political too.  Felt like I needed to do it after Dallas and other things over the last week.  Tiny things sometimes help to get through the dark times, y'know?
  2. Landscape.  Partly inspired by my current short story in progress, "Little Ainesia."  I think this is what the estate of Draketor in Dragunrun, Ainesia might look like.  maybe not.  Still feels like a neat landscape shot.
  3.  Monday's Dog Days post led me to try to do a decent dog sketch.  This turned out magnificently.  IDK what the dog is covered in.  Blood?  Water?  Maybe I'll color it up later.
  4.  Big dog over a ruined skyscraper.  So, maybe there was a theme going on this week?  IDK.
  5. Big cat.  Seemed like a good idea to try to do.  Not my best take on a tiger, but it sort of matches the image in my head.
  6.  Skulls are the easiest thing for me to draw.  I doodle them all the time.  IDK what this is, but it feels mystical and witchy.  
  7. Lettering practice in this sketch.  Also, a bit of city watch design for #Crux going on too.  Go figure.



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Artwork on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  That means you can use these images however the heck you want, as long as you use the same license and attribute back to me.